Part Ten: Networking (Part 1)

This is the tenth part of a series of mini guides which aims to help you find a career you love. They include tips from me but also practical advice from some of the hundreds of individuals who I have coached over the last 10 years, the sort of things they may have shared with friends or family going through a career move.

Networking is key to securing a great role and it is this topic which elicited the greatest response from my networks when I asked about sharing advice. Studies show between 70% and 80% of all jobs come from people’s networks. When I talk about networking I don’t mean attending events or selling yourself in a pushy way, rather it is engaging with the people you know with a clear message and strategy. In the next guide I will share some of my thoughts but first I thought it would be useful to hear from those who have found networking to be a vital tool in their job search.

“NETWORK - talk to anyone, everyone & those you are then recommended to contact who may be able to help, you will be amazed that most people want to support you looking to make the right career move for you.”

“Network, network, network. Talk to anyone and everyone about what you are looking for in your next career, you never know where it could lead.”

“Use your networks, they are likely to lead to far more opportunities than speculatively applying for jobs online. I found online apps a real waste of time and really wish I had done more networking.”

“I suppose the biggest lesson I learned is to take responsibility for building your own network and keeping in contact.  In my case I made a few contacts largely through people I already knew and asked everyone I met if they knew anyone else that might be interested in someone with my experience and desires.  Over the last 3 years this has really paid off and i don’t need to put so much time into it any more but in my first year it felt like a full time job having coffee and chatting with people.”

”As part of identifying the people to speak to it is also good to speak to friends, colleagues and contacts to see if they could suggest other people who may be able to provide help and advice.  Most people were more than happy to help and this was extremely useful.”

“Opportunities can often be found within your network rather than from applying for jobs driven by recruiter activity.”

“Use your network, be proactive do not always expect people to approach you”

“Networking is key. The current job that I am doing, and all the jobs that I have been offered since I set up my company were through word of mouth, or people/organisations that I had worked with in the past.”

“Consider several avenues to garner leads.  Go through your contact book first as the old chestnut about 90% of jobs being unadvertised is definitely true.  This doesn't have to be overt 'Gissa job' but should be subtle in meeting up for a coffee to discuss market trends, find out about their company etc - amazing how many people know people who are looking to hire.”

“I believed my next job would come from my network of contacts. I e-mailed two contacts, who I'd worked with previously, as a first step.  They'd been in the same situation as me 3 years earlier.  With the first contact we had an hours chat on the phone, which cheered me up, but I was just too late - they had just made an appointment.  With the second it was perfect timing - they were on the look out for a person to lead the UK.  I started initially in an Interim role for 12 months which was made permanent and I'm still there today....”

“In terms of the search, I was amazed by how helpful and responsive my network was once I put word out that I was looking for a new role, the one thing you must be though is clear on what you want, I also found being able to explain why was helpful.”

“Keep networking and be patient here.  It is definitely worth doing; though it may feel like you are going round in circles at times!”.

“Finally, when job hunting everyone will tell you how important networking is, which is undoubtedly true and for most people, myself included, this is not something that we necessarily feel comfortable doing. However, for the most part I found that it’s about being open and honest and connecting with people and accepting that it may not come to anything. Since, my experience I have tried to be more proactive in staying in touch with people and have offered to share my experience with a surprising number of former colleagues who have since experienced unexpected redundancy.”

“Most of all be positive in your approach to networking and have as many conversations as possible. I found most opportunities came from people I knew, so it stands to reason that the bigger network you have the more opportunities will present themselves.”

“Talking to people at every opportunity. This has 2 benefits: a) you never know where a conversation may lead, just treat it for what it is “a conversation”, not a pseudo-job interview and b) talking to people is energising and motivating [the mental health equivalent of jogging] and it offsets the negative mental impact of all the on line stuff [the equivalent of a large triple chocolate cake or 3 Big Macs in one day on your physical wellbeing.”

“I found that using my network ‘old or new’ was important and don’t be afraid to pick up that phone and reignite a relationship.  A little awkward maybe, but actually quite enjoyable.”

This series of mini guides will give you some practical tips and hints from people that have been through it and found what they are looking for. The next one continues this theme with tips on how to network.

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